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Weaver Vale MP volunteers around Northwich
FRIENDSHIP, hard graft and new skills are among the benefits of voluntary work, according to a Northwich MP who threw himself into a week of challenges.
Graham Evans, Weaver Vale MP, helped schoolchildren and disabled horse riders, ran guided tours around a Northwich attraction, got stuck in with some gardening and sifted through charity bags as part of a volunteer week to raise awareness of the range of opportunities available.
“It was a good time to volunteer and highlight that it is something anyone can do – no matter what age or background,” he said.
Graham’s week started with a session at the Russett School, in Weaverham, assisting with children with special learning needs, before training as a tour guide at Anderton Boat Lift, a role he plans to keep up.
“When you’re up at the top where all the gears are you feel like you’re on top of the world and it tells you what Northwich is all about with a great view of salt works, the river and the chemical industry,” he said.
On his second day he volunteered at Sandy Lane Equestrian Centre, helping Riding for the Disabled, which he found the toughest but most rewarding experience.
“That was the hardest work because you’ve got to concentrate as you have a disabled rider in your care and you’re working with an animal that sometimes wants to do as it’s told and sometimes doesn’t,” he said.
“But it was fantastic and I really enjoyed it.
“When you see the children’s faces light up because suddenly they’re mobile and higher than everyone else it’s particularly satisfying.”
He also visited the Northwich branch of the Salvation Army, where Captain Imogen Stewart set him to work gardening, good training for the following day when Graham had a stint clearing nettles at Grozone, a community garden project in Northwich.
This was followed by work at the St Luke’s shop in Hartford, where he was given the task of sorting through sacks of donated clothing.
He also helped to run a Macmillan Coffee Morning and joined an archaeological dig at Norton Priory.
He said: “There’s so many opportunities to get involved in local communities and charities and make a difference.
“It’s a great way to make new friends and learn something new – that’s what I’ve done this week, and a bit of graft.”